It’s becoming painfully aware that 2017 is a smashing year for Death Metal. We’ve had an embarrassment of riches in the form of stellar releases from Obituary, Hour of Penance and Suffocation and there’s more coming down the pike from the likes of Dying Fetus, Origin and (gasp) The Faceless. Not to be left out of this guttural gold rush, Chicago’s gore institution Broken Hope have thrown their hat in the ring with Mutilated and Assimilated (Century Media).
How does Broken Hope plan to stand out in the crowded field? Quite simple, by remaking John Carpenter’s The Thing as an early 90’s Death Metal album.
Let’s be completely straight here, no one is expecting, or likely wants, for Jeremy Wagner to throw out the original horror/metal recipe. ‘The Meek Shall Inherit Shit’ and ‘The Bunker’ don’t waste your time and toss you straight to the meat grinder. While the jagged guitars and pummeling rhythms are as gentle as bandsaws, I was most impressed by Damian Leski’s venomous vocals. The man sounds like he’s getting in his regular 64 ounces of Drano on ‘The Bunker’ and ‘Russian Sleep Experiment.’
Title track, ‘Mutilated and Assimilated’, is a little better behaved with its dynamic structure switching from rapid blasts and doomy quicksand in a more civilized fashion. It is also nicely capped off with a nifty solo (first of many) from lead shredder Matt Szlachta. And while on the subject of structure and dynamics, ‘Malicious Meatholes’ and ‘Hell’s Handpuppets’ manage to sneak in minor acoustic flourishes and even some organ in the midst of the maelstrom.
But then a musical explosion like ‘Blast Frozen’ sneaks up on you like a drive-by shooting and you’re reminded that Broken Hope isn’t going prog anytime soon.
Mutilated and Assimilated, a reminder that it’s Wagner and Company’s bloody barbecue… and it still tastes good.